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Bluffing in Pot Limit Omaha

Pot Limit Omaha – Bluffing
by Jason Green of Predictem.com

Pot limit Omaha poker is a game that has bets, draws, and pots that are all big. As each player holds 4 hole cards the number of hands that can be made on the river increases more than with other types of poker. So, since there are so many hands that can be made when playing Omaha poker, can you bluff when playing the game?

The first thing you have to consider when bluffing in Omaha is the betting structure of the pot limit. Betting the size of the current pot, to maybe deal with a re-raise on the new size of the pot, will mean that there can be smaller bets before the flop and during the flop rounds, as compared to later. If there is a large turn bet it could mean another player will fold if they do not have the nuts instead of calling your bet on the flop. On the other side of the coin implied odds for hitting the nuts on the draw, for instance, are pretty high. What this may do is lead other players to be more likely to call bets on the flop when they think that if they hit they could win a big payout.

Because of this the flop can be a good time to bluff, as the risk is small and if your bet is called, especially if you are in position, you can get a free card on the turn. There are a few factors that will determine if a bluff on the flop is a play with positive expectations. These are looked at below and will include the flop texture, the number of players in the game, and the player’s stack sizes.

The texture of the flop may be the most important aspect of pot limit Omaha bluffing. The number of draws that other players can have will mean that a flop having a flush or straight draw is an indicator that your bluff is not as likely to be successful. The betting structure of Omaha pot limit will also mean that other payers may think that they will win a big pot if they hit on the draw, as compared to the flop’s smaller bet size.

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Conversely, a flop that has a pair, flops that are suited, and flops that have no obvious draws are all solid flops on which to bluff on. Many of your opponents will lay down to straights or flushes very fast if a pair does not show up on the board. If your bluff is called with a pair on the board then you should slow down on the turn. If your opponent calls a bet such as this then they probably have a strong hand. Flops that are not coordinated, such as K-4-8 of three different suits will either hit opponents very hard or they will completely miss. A bluff on a flop such as this will work a lot of times, however you should law down if you are called quickly, especially if you are raised.

Obviously, the best time to bluff is when you are only facing one other opponent. The more opponents that are playing against you the more chances they will have something decent in their hand. As each player has 4 hole cards in Omaha the ways that any opponent can hit on the flop increases significantly. If there are 3 or more opponents in the game you should assume that one of them will hit something and because of this you should not bluff.

In terms of bluffing in Omaha you need to consider stack sizes. If your flop bluff is for the remainder of your chips then your opponents don’t have to worry with large bets on both the turn and the river. Basically, your opponents will see 2 cards for the price of only one bet and can have a call with a positive expectation if drawing to a few outs.

If the flop is checked all the way around then there will be certain situations on the turn and the river that can also be good times to bluff. One is when a card comes out that completes an obvious draw, like a straight. If you read your opponent and you think they would usually bet on the flop with a straight draw then you’re the strength of your position increases and a smart well-timed bet will take the pot often. Also a when the turn or river that pairs on the board can be another bluffing opportunity, but you have to be careful of opponents that call on boards that have a pair, as you can face a full house if your bluff is called.

Just like with other poker games the best times to bluff in pot limit Omaha are semi-bluffs. The best situation to semi-bluff is when you have outs where you can still get a nut hand if your bluff is called. Obvious examples of this are flush draws and straight draws, but 2 hand pairs can also be a time to semi-bluff. Having 2 pairs you will be ok taking the pot right off the bat, but have the backup of 4 outs for a full house if your bluff is called. This situation is even better to semi-bluff on when you are the last player to act after the flop.

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